Archive for the Getting the boot Category

Tomato to-ma-to, potato ….

Posted in Getting the boot on February 15, 2014 by robdc

It’s with a heavy heart that I leave Florence today. The experience has been beyond anything I could have foreseen on the way in and that is in no small part due to my hosts while I was here, Kerry and Diana deserve most of the credit for why this leg of the trip was so damn refreshing and awe inspiring.

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Kerry was kind enough to take me in as a roommate for my time in Florence and for that I will forever be in her debt. Check out the view from her skylight.

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It’s a little known fact that nearly every view in Italy has at least one crane in it… Damn cranes.

A quick note to anyone who hasn’t been to Florence: Watch where you walk. Lots of people have dogs here and there is no grass. I think I’m being generous when I estimate that about half of the dog owners in Florence bother to pick up after their pets. This equates to very narrow sidewalks with extremely regular potential day ruiners scattered about, so… Watch your step.

I understand the idea of limited real-estate in these ancient cities but among the unintended side effects, the things people are ok with driving around really crack me up.

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I’m pretty sure this is a later model of the “car” that Steve Urkel drove around…

IMG_6552_tonemapped While most of the Florentine street art is not much to phone home about, mostly teenagers with stock tips who watch Spaceballs on loop, apparently. (“Barf” appears to be the most prolific bomber with a possible pseudonym or crew member throwing up “Yogurt”) Big burners along the railways but nothing amazing. That being said, there is some street art of note.

There is a very peculiar street artist here who seems completely unencumbered by the police. He certainly owes more than a little of his livelihood to a certain British fellow who has made an art of modifying existing street signs, but his work is refreshing and appears to be embraced by the city (I gathered that by the dual facts that his stuff is literally everywhere and he has a shop in town where he sells kits to do more of his work all over Europe and no one seems to care).

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There is also someone going around putting up modified versions of classical portraits. Most of them just have scuba gear added, which is a joke I’m not sure I get completely but, again, it’s refreshing to see someone branching out and doing something new even if it’s with something old.

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Again, I really can’t thank Kerry and Diana enough for putting up with me and making sure that I didn’t have a dull second in Florence, Venice or Montepulciano. I’ll make it up to you both some day, I promise.

Just so I don’t forget, here is one of my favorite shots of the past few days when Kerry jumped on stage with the Beatles cover band and helped out with “Hey Jude,” Ringo really took a shine to her for some reason.

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Cojelo,

Robo

Sense of urgency sold separately…

Posted in Getting the boot on February 8, 2014 by robdc

We awoke one hazy morning and went to the kind car rental people of Hertz, with a simple crazy idea… Give a motor vehicle to these two morons and let us drive around this country of yours, full of unfinished ancient roads and maniac drivers with no regard for human life and let us run around as we see fit. They agreed that this would be a fantastic idea and promptly handed me the keys to a marvel of Italian engineering: A Fiat 500, AKA the Cinquecento. Any conveyance worth even entering needs a name so we put our heads together and came up with the incredibly apt (to us anyway) moniker of “La Vendetta”

IMG_6595_tonemappedWe may have gone a little overboard on the photos…

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We zipped along the highways and mountain roads at the blistering speed of 120 Km/h!!! (about 75 mph…) and actually reached the eye bleeding, breakneck velocity of one hundred and forty five Km/h! that’s one hundred forty five thousand meters per fucking hour!! Yea, la Vendetta wasn’t exactly a McLaren but whatever, she was ours and we loved her.

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Our first real site was Monteriggioni, sure we ran around the night before but it was dark and rainy and the pictures weren’t great so we’ll start here. The view was amazing and we were lucky enough to catch some sun early this day.

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The castled city was beautiful but most of the good vantage points were restricted and completely off limits during the off season so we had to settle for views of the city from within mostly and no walks along its ramparts.

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Next we went to Siena where… Let’s just say… We are lucky to not be in jail. Or, not to exaggerate, we are lucky that we weren’t chased out of the city by locals with pitch forks and torches. This is no hyperbole, we fucked up on this one. It was mostly Google maps fault, but we still did the action (well I did since I was driving, but Kerry didn’t help).

How does this pleasant Piazza look to you?

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This is Piazza del Campo, smack in the center of Siena. Nice right? Quiet? Notice anything else? Completely devoid of cars. Well, google maps don’t really discern between walking paths and roads in old world parts of Italy like this, so as we followed the waypoints to the restaurant we were looking for, we found ourselves on more and more cobblestone roads, not much wider than our miniscule Vendetta. Plenty of leering from the locals and the distinct feeling that we weren’t supposed to be where we were until… Yup, we drove right into the Piazza, pretty much at the edge of the main building in the picture to the furthest right. I stop, Kerry yells to back up, no backing up was possible, so I do as any logical moron would do and, rather than drive directly across, I pretty much jump on the sidewalk and drive all the way around the Piazza. Moving pedestrians from the menus they’re reading, hurrying women with strollers off the path into the central sitting area and pretty much making the template for a large portion of the next Lampoon’s European vacation movie. Much more screaming ensues, Kerry is complaining about chest pains but we must power through. Finally we duck into an alley and I park Vendetta. We allow our heart rates to fall as we thank any number of gods that whatever police just watched that driving catastrophe figured that the paperwork outweighed the effort of calling us out.

The rest of the city was lovely…

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IMG_6593_tonemappedYou may notice the she wolf statues, not being Rome, that seemed a bit odd. After some research it’s because Siena, as legend has it, was founded by Remus’ son, so apparently he gets no credit but his dad does… Odd.

We are now sitting in Montepulciano and the view from where I’m sitting is beyond words but I’m very tired and it’s very dark so I’m going to end here for now.

Keep on keepin’ on…

Rob

Mission Binkey

Posted in Getting the boot on February 2, 2014 by robdc

For Kerry’s born day we decided to head to Venice for a few days, it seamed like a good idea at the time. Of course we are not the masters of planning that we think we are so we arrived in these conditions:

Weather: constant rain

Temp: 45F

Tides apparently the highest they will be this year.

All of which mean that the city was underwater for a good portion of our visit. Did we let that slow us down for even one second? Absofuckinglutely not!

I ran to the store the night we got in, which is apparently something I shouldn’t be allowed to do on my own because the things I picked up seemed a little odd. Rum, Brie, milk, some breadsticks… as random as those things seemed, they made for a great breakfast the next day which got us all ready to set out on Venezia.

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Like I said, the rain was a constant factor so get ready for lots of rainy ass pictures.

In the morning of the first day the street below our apartment was completely flooded, people were wading around in a foot of water like it was no thing. We were not as prepared for this and had to find a Band-Aid to the situation which came in the form of what we affectionately called “boot condoms.” Devices were sold in many local shops to waterproof you to just under knee level. Luckily we never had to use them because they made you look like a buffoon.

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We mostly roamed the city that first day and ended the night at Café Centrale where they apparently specialize in foam reductions on drinks, no lime garnishes here, lime foam is king.

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At midnight it was Kerry’s b-day so we had a mini celebration at our apartment.

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The next day we got up in similar fashion, had some cheeses and cured meats and headed back on the town. This time we started with a boat up the Grand Canal where we got to take a look at the city from the water. It made for some very nice views.

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This Gondolieri refused to be beat by the weather, he was going to do his job no matter what:

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So the thing to get used to here is that since there are only canals and alleys everything is done by boat. You want to get to a part of town that you don’t feel like walking to? Call one of these guys:

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IMG_6462_tonemappedAnother thing I found interesting after a friend asked “what do you do if there’s a fire?” to which I replied “swim or burn seem like the only options” sarcastically… Apparently I was closer to reality than I thought. The soot on the door ways and windows of these places are from fires which apparently ravaged the city in the past.

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After much more running around, Kerry and I had some time to kill before our reservation at Al Gondolieri so we headed to the Devil’s Forest.

IMG_6481This place is an actual pub, thank god! They had good drinks, a serious variety and… and … THERE WAS A RUGBY MATCH JUST STARTING! (England vs France) Kerry had never seen rugby before so this was a treat, and, wouldn’t you know it, she is now a fan!

After the pub and the match we headed to Al Gondilieri where we had a meal I will be trying to out do for years to come, beef risotto?! tartar, veal, the whole Magilla!

Ok the liquor cart is closing in on me so I gotta go, but here are some closing thoughts from Venice.IMG_6482Cojelo,

Robo

Shazoooooooo!

Posted in Getting the boot on January 30, 2014 by robdc

Last night Diana and I had a fantastic dinner at Il Latini where I was first exposed to the holistic charging system of this type of restaurant. A carafe of red wine (of which I am apparently developing a taste for) sits on the table, when you finish it a new one is brought. The food is ordered but nothing is written down. At the end of the meal our server has a brief discussion, kind of about our meal, with the man at the table next to us, who later introduced himself as the owner, and a price is scribbled on a sheet of notebook paper. They have no idea what we had, and I have no idea what it should have cost but the mans offer seemed reasonable and judging by the waves of limoncello that followed I think we reached an amicable agreement.

Before or after, I took more pictures running around with Kerry:

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I found MC Escher’s pad…

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We managed to get a couple of pictures with us actually in them.

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And this is the One Eyed Jack, Fabio knows pretty much everyone here so they treat us fantastically which equates to us stopping in here pretty much every day for a least one or two before doing anything else.

IMG_6331_tonemappedTrain + wine = tired me so I think that’s it for now.

Cojelo!

Robo

Dio Mio!

Posted in Getting the boot on January 26, 2014 by robdc

As we started moving around today Kerry told me that she had a surprise for me. We start walking and find ourselves at the four seasons where I’m told the best brunch in town can be had.

We were about an hour early for brunch but were given drink menus to occupy us until the smorgasbord began.

There was one thing in particular on the menu that I had to get in honor of my dad. Anyone who ever came to our annual x-mass party knows that he used to push the Kir Royals like they were crack, so I couldn’t resist, this one is for you dad Rest In Power.

IMG_6206Kerry dressed to match our scenery:

IMG_6204Then the feast began… This wasn’t really the type of place where snapping a quick shot of each course was encouraged so I had to resist but when we were led into the kitchen and I had to explicitly tell the chef “todas las carnes” I needed to document the glorious spread that was presented back to me.

IMG_6208  After way too many courses and wine we headed back out on the town where I was able to procure a second pair of pants and more photo stuff happened.

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IMG_6254_tonemapped Wine helps Kerry unwind…

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I did manage to get one normal one though.

IMG_6261_tonemappedAnd now it’s time for a nap, all this eating and drinking is exhausting.

I’m out,

Rob

Firenze through the lens

Posted in Getting the boot on January 25, 2014 by robdc

We went out last night to Mateo’s place where he cooked a fantastic meal for everyone, then we went out to a few establishments which may or may not have served alcohol. Yada yada yada… I woke up on a couch and decided that it was time to actually get some shots in of the city, so I threw my camera strap on and went out on my own for a bit. Here are the results:

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IMG_6186_tonemappedNow although I was out on my own, I did adhere to my very strict set of rules for this type of sight seeing. Grab a nice scotch, take in the experience of all that’s going on around you, then take a picture.

IMG_6189_tonemappedThat being said, and with all those pictures, it is now time for me to get some food. I’ve been told the restaurant we are headed to has some fantastic steak, let’s hope that’s true.

Cojelo,

Robo

Once again getting the boot

Posted in Getting the boot on January 23, 2014 by robdc

After snowpocalypse in DC where the Segermeisters once again proved that they are some of the best hosts in the world and nursed me back to health, I sadly said goodbye to the US for a little bit and headed out to see what some other parts of the world have to offer for a while.

Bailey, will be playing the lead role in 9 mile with his hoodie was tough to leave behind:

IMG_3606[1]The view of DC was pretty nice on the way out too:

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The rest of the trip was pretty hazy and now I’m just happy to be here, time to get my internal clock reset. By that I mean a shower and the beginning of the rum storm that is my stay in Firenze!

Robo

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